If you buy keyword specific domains, you're really buying the type in traffic.  I use the URL builder and redirect through that URL so you can see how much traffic your getting from the keyword domain.  There seems to be no rythme or reason to what keyword domains deliver traffic and what don't.  By tracking traffic with the Google URL builder you get a feel for what names are giving you traffic and which are not. ie. the plural, the singular, two words, three words, the possessive, etc.
A domain name that reaches expired status and is not renewed by the owner will be listed at an auction service (see FAQ for exception to this rule). The domain name does not immediately go into auction, but is immediately listed on the partnered auction service with an auction scheduled for the near future. Such a domain name will be exclusive to that specific auction service.
Next, some of these expired domain names have ranked in high authority sites that are ranked or had ranked themselves. Besides, some of these domain names are worth a fortune. For example, domain names sell for about ten to twenty dollars each. However, those that are the most sought after can go for over $ 2500 a month because they have lots of traffic back links or rankings.The last advantage is that you don’t have to spend much to find expired domains.
Now a lot of time, you'll search for things and you'll think you're getting niche website's back, but actually, in fact, because of Google's shift towards big authority websites, you'll get things like Amazon listings. So if you don't want to end up crawling those big authority websites - and you want just the smaller ones, then you can make sure that the website, you'll crawl from the search engine results, is relevant by putting in a metadata requirement here. So any results that come back from the scrape of Google for any of these search terms, here you can say that they must contain one of these things, so what you can do is you can just put that your search terms in there back into there into the metadata requirement. So then, when a result comes back from google, it will loop through these line, separated terms and it'll say this is a homepage metadata, so the title, the keyword, the description, does it contain these?
1) pending delete auctions.  These are domains that were not renewed and are going through a pretty complicated drop process.  You can backorder these names at the auction venues and then each attempts to "catch" the dropping domain.  If one is successful you win the domain at $59 if you're the only one to backorder the name.  If more than one person backordered the domain a 3 day private auction is held.  Once the domain goes through the drop process, the back links have pretty much zero SEO benifit to the new domain owner.
Your course of action really depends on how much work and effort you can put into the expired domain. If you're barely able to maintain and optimize your current site, you probably want to just 301 redirect the old site (note: see my amended comment above about the link value not likely to be passed). If, however, you're more creative and have some time on your hands, you can try your hand at crafting a microsite. If you really know your stuff and are experienced at making money off various websites, you'd probably do well with the third option. 

At the end of the day, this article is geared to startups, business entrepreneurs, webmasters and marketing professionals who need to understand the process, and I guestimate that the process listed in the article above accounts for 99%+ of all expired domain names. All of your points are valid and appreciated, but if someone is interested in buying a good, brandable domain name for their business, they should follow the instructions above to have the best chance of grabbing it.
* “Thousands of domain names that reach expired status never make it to any auction service and are released by the registry.” I think this is only if the registrar a) has an auction partner and b) nobody places a bid at the auction house. In that case, it drops normally and is deleted from the registry and available for anyone to hand register — including backorder services like SnapNames.com or Pool.com. I’m not sure why a registrar wouldn’t list an expiring domain name at the auction house as it could lead to extra revenue for them. Can you, Jamie?
Yes, I know, it seems backwards that you’d have to compete in an auction for a domain name that may never be caught. Other people feel the same way and many don’t compete as a result of that. But that’s the way the drop catching service was set up. Who knows, it may mean less competition for you since others do not like that model, which benefits the company rather than the user.
The first is the link profile I and actually took this example carbondsystems.com because it looked like a pretty good choice. It’s from 2003. It has some links, some age and it’s in DMAS and looked at the link profile in DMAS. So, you just copy and paste the domain,  the home page it to here, click on the search links button and this will show you all the links to that site.

Once you get to this point you know there have been DMAS listed. They have a number of domains linking to them and according to the way back machine which is WBY, you can see their site age. So, if you want to go with an older site you can see right here whether or not this is a site that you might be interested in, but before pulling the trigger you do want to check two things.
Searching for a suitable domain name for your website can be quite trying. The reason for this is that the names that you want to get have already been assigned and are not available. As an SEO you know the importance of getting a domain name that describes your business as closely as possible. For example, if you are running a car rental service, you will look for a domain name that has the words ‘car’ and ‘rental’ in it. So if you can’t find a suitable name, you could use the expired domains tool which might show you domain names that would meet your requirements.

What about option #4 - Redirect your existing domain to the old domain? I bought an old domain that is 100% relevant to my current domain but currently has with very little content. It did have more content fours years ago. The old domain is 13 years old, pr=3, while my current is 7 months old pr=1 and a decent amount of content. The old domain I purchased was not expired though and I do not know if this makes a difference. What are the pros and cons of option #4? Am I correct to think that option #1 would result in no benefit from the old domain's age value and if so why is it not listed as a con, a MAJOR one. Its hard to believe that a 301 using option 1 would give my existing domain 13 years credit but I'll take it if it does.


For example, placing your backorder at NameJet will reveal your interest to other potential buyers so if no other backorders are present you should wait until the last possible moment before the deadline to place your backorder — because if you’re the only backorder, you’ll get it for the minimum $39 bid on expiring names and it won’t go to auction.
The third option is the one that's the most time consuming but also has its benefits. It's like having a successful restaurant and buying another restaurant and operating them simultaneously. They're not the exact same restaurant, but both are popular in their own right and make you money. The same goes for Option #3. You could update the content on the old domain and sell the same products that you're selling on your current site. If you can get both sites to rank alongside each other in the SERPs, you're increasing your conversion chances and sales potential. 

1. Some domain names don’t go to auction and are instead held by the registrar in their own portfolios (you called this “warehousing” by the registrar). This is probably less than 0.001% of the domain names….actually, probably even less. I suspect it would only be premium domain names with massive exact match local search quantities. Not surprisingly, I cannot find any information from registrars about their procedure, quantities of domains their keep, or ICANN’s rules (if any) about this.
Ultimately, I was left with a semi-automated process of scraping sites and running an intricate series of processes to come up with a list of expired domains that I then had to evaluate by hand. This meant I had Majestic and Moz open to check the backlink anchor text and Archive.org to check for obvious spam for every single possible domain. The process was excruciatingly slow and tedious, but absolutely necessary to find domains that would be suitable for building out.

A domain name that reaches expired status and is not renewed by the owner will be listed at an auction service (see FAQ for exception to this rule). The domain name does not immediately go into auction, but is immediately listed on the partnered auction service with an auction scheduled for the near future. Such a domain name will be exclusive to that specific auction service.

Great article on what to look for when buying expired domains! I’ve looked at the domain and page authority of expired domains but haven’t checked if they are blocked by Google like you’ve listed. I haven’t pulled the trigger yet to purchase one (probably good that I didn’t since I didn’t do all my homework) but this will make it easier to finally go. Thanks for the great info!

To get the most from GoDaddy Auctions, you should first decide on the way you want to evaluate the domains. Domainers tend to look at the words in the domain name, while SEOs care about the backlink equity. If you are a domainer, you should look at Estibot, Domain Index or Valuate scores. If you are an SEO, you should look at the Ahrefs, Moz and Majestic metrics to gauge the value of the backlinks. Once you have figured this out, you should look at these numbers for every domain you find on GoDaddy Auctions. Do not be afraid of bidding on the Closeout auctions, as you can get good domains for cheap.
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